Sustainability in International Supply Chains

Sustainability in International Supply Chains

Module learning outcomes being assessed
LO1. Critically assess the strategic impact of Supply Chain Management, and organization competitiveness in different industrial contexts.
LO2. Apply knowledge and critical evaluation of organizational strategic direction to the development of Supply Chain and operations resources and capabilities.
LO4. Diagnose the implications of relevant Supply Chain ethical issues and recommend guidelines for their management.
LO5. Contrast and critically discuss different ways of assessing organizational and Supply Chain performance.

Assignment Information

This assignment requires you to write a 3000 word original essay answering the following questions:


Supply chains in many industries are increasingly fragmented and dispersed across international borders and large distances, with production processes similarly

dispersed around the globe. In these supply networks, suppliers and customers are linked by information, material and capital flows managed with differing degrees of

success and scrutiny. As a consequence, the potential benefits from sourcing in this manner, are usually accompanied by increased risk to environmental and social


The operations and supply management concept of the ‘trade-off’ suggests that increased performance on one dimension can only be achieved at the expense of performance

on another, that is, one of either economic or environmental and social sustainability. As an example, this might mean that improved financial performance is only

achieved at the expense of poorer working conditions, that is, reduced social sustainability. Others argue that these objectives can in some ways be mutually

reinforcing. The answer may however ultimately rest in the way in which the supply chain is managed, that is, the supply chain strategy and its link to performance.

Your tasks

PART A – Literature Review (50% of marks)
Carry out a review of selected literature on the strategic role of supply chain management, and sustainable supply chain management, in particular examining the

relationship between supply chain strategies, sustainability and performance using relevant criteria e.g. financial/economic. (You should draw insights from around 8 –

12 published journal articles, as well as more general sources such as textbooks for more fundamental operations management, strategic planning and (strategic) supply

chain management principles.)

PART B – Case analysis (50% of marks)
Using good-quality secondary sources such as company reports, the trade press and the business press, identify, describe and analyze one case of a firm where

sustainability in an internationally dispersed supply chain is an important issue. Examine the case using the key ideas from your literature review. The overarching

question is – does the case that you examine confirm the trade-off argument and what is the role of supply chain strategy in managing this trade-off?
Case selection might be based on various factors, including but not limited to:
•    prominent recent problems in the supply chain relating to sustainability,
•    firms that particularly strongly emphasize their sustainability credentials or utilize innovative supply chain strategies
•    firms or industries that you may know about or be interested in.
You may find it best to concentrate on one aspect of sustainability in your analysis (e.g. environmental or social).

Read and use relevant academic sources, correctly referenced. I am interested in your analysis of secondary data, so please do not simply reproduce other authors’

analyses of cases from academic sources. Please use diagrams, maps, photographs, tables and bullet-points to summarize and illustrate important points, but do not

over-depend on them: you need to write prose to develop an argument. If you wish to use another author’s exact words in a short quotation this must be clearly marked

up in inverted commas with the exact source given, including page number, so that the reader can clearly see which words have been copied and are not your own. Just

quoting references used at the end is not sufficient.

How to submit your assessment

The essay must be submitted via Turnitin by 23.55 on 2 April 2015. No paper copies are required. You can access the Turnitin link through the module web.

•    Your coursework will be given a zero mark if you do not submit a copy through Turnitin. Should you submit work on time but fail the assignment, you will be

offered a resit opportunity but the resit mark will be capped at 40%.
•    All work submitted after the submission deadline without a valid and approved reason (see below) will be given a mark of zero. Please note that a non-

submission is not the same as a failed submission; a failed submission counts as an attempt whereas an absent mark does not necessarily allow you to resit the

•    Short deferrals (extensions) of up to three calendar weeks can only be given for genuine “force majeure” and medical reasons, not for bad planning of your

time. Please note that theft, loss, or failure to keep a back-up file, are not valid reasons. The short deferral must be applied for on or before the submission date.

You can apply for a short deferral by submitting an Examination/ Coursework Deferral Application Form. Application Forms along with the supporting evidence should go

to the relevant Student Support Office (WMG03). For a longer delay in submission a student may apply for a long deferral.
•    Students MUST keep a copy and/or an electronic file of their assignment.
•    Checks will be made on your work using anti-plagiarism software and approved plagiarism checking websites.


This assessment will assess the module learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5 and makes up 50% of the overall module mark.

Word Count Limit

Your word count includes in text citations but not the final references or appendices. If you are more than 10% over or under the word count limit you may lose marks

as a 10% penalty applies.

The contents of your References and Appendices are not normally given a specific mark (though they may contribute to your overall mark, as detailed in the assessment

criteria). We therefore recommend that you only use Appendices for supporting material and not for the substantive part of your work.


As part of your study you will be involved in carrying out research and using this when writing up your coursework. It is important that you correctly acknowledge

someone else’s writing or thoughts and that you do not attempt to pass this off as your own work.  Doing so is known as plagiarism.  It is not acceptable to copy from

another source without acknowledging that it is someone else’s writing or thinking. This includes using paraphrasing as well as direct quotations. You are expected to

correctly cite and reference the works of others. The Centre for Academic Writing provides documents to help you get this right. If you are unsure, please visit

Turnitin includes a plagiarism detection system and assessors are experienced enough to recognise plagiarism when it occurs. Copying another student’s work, using

previous work of your own or copying large sections from a book or the internet are examples of plagiarism and carry serious consequences. Please familiarise yourself

with the CU Harvard Reference Style (on Moodle) and use it correctly to avoid a case of plagiarism or cheating being brought.  Again, if you are unsure, please contact

the Centre for Academic Writing or a member of the course team.

Return of Marked Work

You can expect to have marked work returned to you 2 weeks after the submission date. Marks and feedback will be provided online. As always, marks will have been

internally moderated only, and will therefore be provisional; your mark will be formally agreed later in the year once the external examiner has completed his / her




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